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Zotero - Collect, Organize, Cite and Share your Research Sources: Installing Zotero

This guide will walk you through setting up and using Zotero to collect and organize resources, cite works, and create bibliographies.

How Do I install Zotero?

You can download Zotero on the Zotero download page.

Decide which version you want to use.

  • Zotero for FirefoxThis is the original way of using Zotero and it offers the most reliable operation along with all of the available features. With the exception of installation instructions, this guide will only provide screenshots of the Firefox version.
  • Zotero Standalone: If Firefox is not your browser of choice you can choose to use Zotero Standalone which is a separate, browser-independent application. Because Zotero Standalone lives outside your browser, it cannot offer some advanced features, like automatic proxy redirection. Similarly, since Zotero Standalone does not have access to the cookies stored in your browser, it is sometimes unable to automatically import file attachments when websites are accessed through a web proxy.

How Do I Install Zotero?

Watch the screencast below to see how to download, install, and configure Zotero for Firefox.

Quick start

  • Download and Install Firefox

Zotero is best used as an add-on for Firefox. If you do not already have Firefox on your computer, go to and follow the instructions for the free download. If you prefer to use Chrome or Safari see the instructions below for Zotero Standalone.

  • Download and Install Zotero

While in Firefox, visit and select Zotero for Firefox. When prompted click Allow, then Install Now, then Restart Now:

Downloading Zotero for Firefox at



Zotero Standalone for Use with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari

  • Using the the browser you want to use with Zotero, download and Install Zotero Standalone and the extension for the browser of your choice

Visit and select Zotero 4.0 for Windows or Zotero 4.0 for Mac depending on your operating system. Follow download instructions.

Downloading Zotero Standalone


Next download the extension for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari by clicking on its icon under Zotero 4.0 for Windows orZotero 4.0 for Mac and following the instructions.

Downloading Zotero Extension for Chrome



Create & Sync your Zotero Account

  • Register for an Account at Your browser will reopen and you will be prompted to create an account . Registering for an account allows you to sync your Zotero library to the cloud, to create group libraries to collaborate with other Zotero users, and to monitor your storage usage.

    Account Registration Page

    Note that syncing to the cloud is not a substitute for backing up your Zotero account. To locate your Zotero directory go to PreferencesAdvancedFiles and Folders, and then to Show Data Directory.

    Files Zotero Directory

  • Once you have registered for an account and verified your account by clicking on the link in your email, you should sync Zotero with your online account. Open Zotero and find the Actions menu in the middle of the pane and select Preferences:


  • In the Sync tab enter your username and password from your online account. Then click OK if using Windows.

Sync Your Online Account in Zotero

Enable PDF Indexing

  • In the Search tab click on Check for installer and then Install to make the full text of PDFs searchable

Get a Word Processor Plugin

  • In the Cite tab, click on Install Microsoft Word Add-in to get the latest version of the Microsoft Word or LibreOffice plugin. Make sure to choose the right platform (Windows or Mac). When prompted, click Allow, then Install Now, then Restart Now. If Word or LibreOffice is open you will need to restart it for the Zotero toolbar to appear. For ease of use we recommend you check the Use classic Add Citation dialog box.

          Install Word plug-in

  • Next open Word to look for the Zotero toolbar. If you are using a Mac you will either see the toolbar below hovering over Word to the left of the screen or you will find a Zotero menu Applescripts menu pictured below.

In Windows you will find the toolbar in the Zotero tab.

Zotero Toolbar in Word for Windows

Configure General Preferencesd

In the General Tab uncheck, if applicable, the following boxes under Miscellaneous.

  1. If you use annotation software with pdfs uncheck the box next to Open PDFs and other files within Firefox when possible. This will allow you to modify your files in software likeAdobe Reader and then save them back into Zotero.
  2. If you do not want PDFs to be automatically downloaded into Zotero, uncheck the box next toAutomatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items.
  3. To prevent Zotero from automatically importing subject headings from databases along with citation information uncheck the box next toAutomatically tag items with keywords and subject headings.
General Preferences

This page created by Harvard Kennedy School Library